The Taysom Hill Game.
Today’s Saints – Vikings Wildcard game was just that, wild. It was unpredictable, unexpected and went as unplanned; as all great playoff games tend to do. The Minnesota Vikings beat the New Orleans Saints 26-20 in overtime, a surprise considering the Saints were so dominant, at 13-3 this year.
For New Orleans, extraordinary Drew Brees wasn’t just human, he was awful for much of the game. Brees threw an interception and was sacked for a fumble in the only two-turnover game for the otherwise superb Saints this year.
Luckily for the Saints, Taysom Hill was there to pick up the slack for Brees and the lackluster offensive attack. In the second quarter, Hill ran for a first down, and then on the next play, rolled out, double crow-hopped and threw a 50-yard pass to Deonte Harris in the red zone.
That was far from his only highlight reel worthy play though; on the next snap, Hill was the lead-blocker for the Alvin Kamara touchdown. And in the fourth quarter, Hill caught a touchdown pass from Brees to bring the Saints to within a field goal.
All told, Hill threw for 50 yards, ran for another 50 (on 4 carries, 12.5 YPC) and caught two balls for another 25 yards. He also was in on every special teams snap and came somewhat near blocking a punt.
Hill was a man possessed, and seemed unstoppable at times, an x-factor so great he nearly led the Saints to a comeback win.
The way Sean Payton has been utilizing Hill, mostly as a receiver but also as a do-it-all, focus-stealing playmaker is exactly what Tim Tebow could have been if he wouldn’t have been so stubborn.
In one of the biggest ironies in the history of football, the kneeling Tebow wasn’t humble enough to accept a new position and fell out of the NFL after three years. Yes, he was a run-and-gun quarterback in college and drafted as a QB by the Broncos in 2010 and even did alright in that roll for two years before being shipped to New York.
When John Elway entered the front office in 2011, one of his first moves was to jettison Tebow. Even after a playoff trip and postseason victory the year before.
Because, Tebow simply wasn’t an NFL quarterback. A 47.3 completion percentage, what he averaged in Denver, is about 20 percent worse than you’d like out a QB. His frantic style, spinning away from the line of scrimmage when he was rushed, taking his eyes off his receivers downfield, was the opposite of what a seasoned quarterback is supposed to do.
But, what Tebow did do well was run the ball. With a 5.4 yard per carry average and 12 touchdowns in a mere 165 carries, Tebow was a deadly carrier of the football. At 6’2″ and 236 pounds, he was the size of a fullback or tight end, tough to take down and faster than a man that size was expected to be.
Now, imagine Tebow was willing to be the backup quarterback/receiver/running back and general x-factor like Hill is in New Orleans currently. The Broncos offense could’ve been even more deadly, with Manning as the quarterback (a strong Brees comparison) and Tebow as do-it-all offensive guy.
With Tebow, though, it’ll always be a “what if” situation, sadly.